FTAA Put on Back Burner

Brazil wants to focus on WTO negotiations, rather than the Free Trade Area of the America discussions. Compiled by staff


Published on: Nov 7, 2005

A two-day summit in Argentina concluded with no final Free Trade Area of the Americas deal over the weekend. Brazil requested to move back negotiations until World Trade Organization negotiations squabbles were less present.

The U.S. says the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas would bring together the economies ranging from Canada to Chile. The North America Free Trade Agreement tripled trade between the United States, Mexico and Canada over the past 10 years, President Bush touted in a speech. Bush's goal is that the entire Western hemisphere could build on the NAFTA example in FTAA and eliminate barriers across the entire hemisphere.

Leaders from the 37 countries were overshadowed by violent anti-U.S. protests. Negotiators did consider a deal Saturday for negotiations sometime next year on creating a vast free-trade zone. The compromise being considered wouldn't set an April deadline for high-level talks, which Mexico, the United States and 27 other nations desired.

Bush says the best opportunity to "deliver the blessings of trade to every citizen in this hemisphere is the Doha Round of negotiations in the World Trade Organization." Brazil, a key regional player in Latin America and a powerful developing country, evaded setting a firm date in order to focus on ongoing WTO talks.

The Wall Street Journal reports Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says, "Anything we do now, before the WTO meeting, could confuse the facts and we'd be creating an impediment to the WTO."

Bush agreed with Brazil that the agricultural negotiations will unlock the full potential of the Doha Round. Bush said he also saw eye to eye with President Lula about developing countries' subsidies, saying "trade-distorting subsidies undercut honest farmers in the developing world."

Leaders who are concerned about the harmful effects of high tariffs and farm subsidies must move the Doha Round forward, Bush urged. He says the U.S. has already offered a bold proposal that would phase-out trade-distorting subsidies over a period of 15 years and asks for other world leaders to do the same.